A Software Bug may Kill You

By Dipankar Das, Gaea News Network
Sunday, March 28, 2010

qa In 1991, during the Gulf war, American Patriot missile was deployed to combat Iraqi scud missile. In one of the incident, Patriot missile missed the Scud and that resulted the death of 28 American soldiers and 100 others got injured. There was an arithmetic error during calculation which resulted inaccurate calculation since Boot.

In 1996, Ariane 5 rocket blasted within minutes after take-off due to software bug. There was a conversion error from floating point to integer and that caused overflow exception in Ada.

Microsoft’s Zune player stopped working on December 31, 2008 because of a simple software bug. The software was written in such a way that it would never terminate if the year is leap year and the total number of days is 366.

S G Ganesh, Member Technical Staff, Siemens Corporate Technology, said at Bangalore (India) Spark IT 2010 show that software bugs should be treated as serious obstacles. They are just like ice-bergs because most of them are hidden. Only 1/10 th of all software bugs are known beforehand. Some trivial bugs may also pose dangerous down the road.

Software bugs are serious in nature and it is hard to tell the quality of the code. The first thing a programmer should realize about the cost of code quality. The next one is testing, but it is not the solution for creating good quality software. Testing only shows that the bug is present in the software, but, not their absence. For 99.9 per cent of inputs the bugs would go undetected during testing. It is also not fair to blame only the developers for software failures.  Managers should also take equal responsibility.

April 8, 2010: 6:19 am

The article rightly pointed out the devastating effect of software bug. Recently, iPad has been launched & many people can’t use the wifi due to bug. Such a frustrating scenario….Gr8 post!

April 8, 2010: 6:15 am

The article rightly pointed out the devastating effect of software bugs. Recently iPad has been launched & many people who paid such a heavy price to get it, can’t login through wifi due to bug. This is one of the few reasons why software testing services has been seen as a specialized field & companies are willing to employ them just for testing purpose. Gr8 post!

March 29, 2010: 4:50 am

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